The Andrews Labor Government is allocating $1 million to develop a Regional and Rural Council Sustainability Program, so regional Victorians can benefit from stronger local governments.
The Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins announced the program at the Rural Councils Victoria conference today.
As part of the Victorian Budget 2017-18, the fund will co-operatively develop a program with rural and regional councils, in order to help them respond to external financial pressures and structural issues.
It comes in contrast to the Turnbull Federal Government, who froze the indexation to financial assistance grants for three years, which removed at least $60 million from rural councils.
The program will complement other state government initiatives aimed at assisting rural councils, such as the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program, Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program and Finance and Accounting Support Team (FAST) initiative.
The Labor Government in last week’s budget took further burden off councils, by giving $14.9 million to SES Volunteer units located on council land.
The Auditor General, along with a range of stakeholders such as Rural Councils Victoria, have highlighted these issues over the past few years.
The program is a small step to addressing those concerns and establishing a brighter future for rural councils.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“This is just one of many ways we are supporting community needs right across rural Victoria in this Budget.”
“The government has listened to rural councils and is working with them to address the issues they face, especially those created by the millions of dollars of cuts from the Turnbull Liberal Government.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020